World Cup 2014 Referees: Names, Red Card Records, Penalty History and More

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World Cup 2014 Referees: Names, Red Card Records, Penalty History and More
Bernat Armangue/Associated Press

In the build-up to the World Cup, it's all been about the players—for obvious reasons. Who will be the star man? Which high-profile player will fail to perform? Which youngster will emerge on the world stage?

However, there is another group of people who will have a huge effect on the outcome of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil: the referees.

A bad decision one way or another can often prove the difference between moving on in the tournament or crashing out.

England fans will claim that Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda disallowing Frank Lampard's clear equalising goal against Germany in 2010 was the reason the Three Lions went out in South Africa.

Another English grievance—Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" in the 1986 quarter-final—was not spotted by Tunisian Ali Bin Nasser.

In 1978, Welsh referee Clive Thomas inexplicably decided to blow the final whistle as the ball was in the air from a Brazilian corner which was then headed in by Zico for the winner. The goal was disallowed and the 1-1 draw with Sweden stood.

On these types of decisions—along with countless other examples—are World Cups conceivably won and lost.

Thus, let's take a look at the men taking charge in Brazil and what is known of them ahead of the tournament.  

World Cup Referees

2014 World Cup Referees
Referee Nationality International Matches Red Cards Penalties Averages Per Game (Yellow/Red/Pens)
Alioum Cameroon 48 7 13 3.13/0.15/0.27
Daniel Bennett South Africa 63 11 14 3.24/0.17/0.22
Noumandiez Doue Ivory Coast 57 13 13 3.84/0.23/0.23
Bakary Gassama Gambia 54 6 7 2.78/0.11/0.13
Djamel Haimoudi Algeria 65 10 15 3.35/0.15/0.23
Alireza Faghani Iran 58 19 22 4.62/0.33/0.38
Ravshan Irmatov Uzbekistan 114 26 14 3.46/0.23/0.12
Yuichi Nishimura Japan 91 13 18 3.59/0.14/0.20
Nawaf Shukralla Bahrain 65 19 11 4.38/0.29/0.17
Benjamin Williams Australia 77 27 18 4.16/0.35./0.23
Felix Brych Germany 73 17 24 3.45/0.23/0.33
Cuneyt Cakir Turkey 81 17 21 4.10/0.21/0.27
Jonas Eriksson Sweden 89 16 16 3.16/0.18/0.18
Bjorn Kuipers Netherlands 81 17 21 3.69/0.21/0.26
Milorad Mazic Serbia 61 16 17 4.46/0.26/0.28
Svein Oddvar Moen Norway 77 13 13 3.37/0.17/0.17
Pedro Proenca Portugal 89 14 20 3.83/0.16/0.22
Nicola Rizzoli Italy 74 10 24 3.93/0.14/0.32
Carlos Velasco Carballo Spain 53 5 18 3.72/0.09/0.34
Howard Webb UK 111 21 23 4.05/0.19/0.21
Joel Aguilar El Salvador 89 29 17 4.28/0.33/0.19
Mark Geiger USA 39 12 10 3.79/0.31/0.26
Walter Lopez Guatemala 59 22 10 4.36/0.37/0.17
Roberto Moreno Panama 96 20 8 3.60/0.21/0.08
Marco Rodriguez Mexico 79 51 29 4.43/0.65/0.37
Norbert Hauta Tahiti 45 12 9 2.53/0.27/0.20
Peter O'Leary New Zealand 42 8 8 3.67/0.19/0.19
Victor Carrillo Peru 75 32 31 4.67/0.43/0.41
Enrique Osses Chile 80 20 19 4.66/0.25/0.24
Nestor Pitana Argentina 38 9 7 5.03/0.24/0.18
Sandro Ricci Brazil 38 17 11 4.55/0.45/0.29
Wilmar Roldan Columbia 73 40 27 5.22/0.55/0.37
Carlos Vera Ecuador 65 24 14 4.58/0.37/0.22

Sports Interaction

The most experienced referee at this year's tournament is Uzbekistan's Ravshan Irmatov who has taken charge of 114 international matches, three more than Englishman Howard Webb's 111 games.

At the other end of the spectrum, Nestor Pitana of Argentina and Brazilian Sandro Ricci are the least experienced with just 38 games apiece under their respective belts.

The most trigger-happy with red cards is Mexican Marco Rodriguez who has dismissed a staggering 51 players from 79 games in charge. 

Clive Rose/Getty Images

Meanwhile, with only five red cards given in 53 games, Spaniard Carlos Velasco Carballo clearly likes to keep players on the pitch. His red card record is the lowest of any referee in Brazil.

However, players would do well not to test his leniency: He once had an average of six yellow cards a game as an official in Spain.

Victor R. Caivano/Associated Press

On the penalty front, Peru's Victor Carrillo's 31 spot-kicks given from 75 matches is the highest average on show in Brazil.  

While Gambia's Bakary Gassama—the first Gambian ever to appear at a World Cup, including players—has only awarded seven penalties in 54 matches.

Sweden's Jonas Eriksson may be able to identify with some of the stars on show in Brazil—he is a multi-millionaire thanks to a wise investment he made in a TV channel.

Elsewhere, there are plenty more earning their keep in other jobs. Italy's Nicola Rizzoli is an architect and Felix Brych has a doctorate in law.

Victor R. Caivano/Associated Press

On a less cerebral note, Yuichi Nishimura caused such outrage in a game he took charge of in 2010 in Congo that fans took their revenge on the streets by smashing windows of Chinese-owned shops. He's Japanese. 

Turk Cuneyt Cakir was attacked by a goalkeeper in 2007, Portugal's Pedro Proenca was head-butted by an unidentified man in a shopping centre near Benfica's stadium in 2011, and Chile's Enrique Osses was hit in the face by a goalie in 2005 after sending the player off. 

However, these referees do not cower away from irrational fans or players, probably the reason they are the best officials in the world.

Referees get a pretty raw deal the majority of the time, with their good performances ignored and their smallest errors seized upon by enraged fans and pundits.

However, those on show in Brazil are the cream of the crop, and while incorrect decisions are likely to be made, hopefully the football will take centre stage in the end.


All refereeing stats courtesy of Sports Interaction

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